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Creativity Over 50: Jan Rozeboom’s art reigns o’er rain barrels

By Staff | Mar 2, 2011

Jan Rozeboom puts the finishing touches on her rain barrel, which is currently on display at Jerry's Market.

Have you ever noticed how many creative people seem to congregate on these islands? Is it because we are surrounded by all the beauty of sea, birds and flowers? Or is it because many of us have reached a time in our life when we can pursue our creative dreams?

Jan Rozeboom is a great example of a creative person who has found her bliss here.

“I consider creativity, as not just what emerges from one’s paintbrush, but all that one does with a life,” she said. “So when a person tells me she or he is not creative, it makes no sense to me.”

Her creativity began as a child with crayons and private watercolor classes. She took dance classes and created choreography for performances. She even designed and completed her own needlework designs and projects as a child.

For most of her life, she has studied painting: watercolor, oil and Chinese brush painting. Her work has been exhibited across the nation and in Russia and Tam Sui.

Her interest in art has led to her other artistic pursuits from basket weaving to clay sculpture to interior and landscape design and flower arranging. At home in Mankato, Minn., she has designed and created a stone side terrace for a pottage garden as well as clematis and hosta gardens and also experimented with growing hardy northern roses. She is also known in her hometown as a creative hostess who plans events complete with decorations and centerpieces!

As with art, her interest in writing also began when she was a child. She remembers traveling with her family and writing poetry in her head, like a special poem she titled “Lonely Pine.” She has continued to write, especially poetry and memoir, and is now working on stories and short poems about her mother. At one point, she formed a poetry group, taught by a young writer, that met in her home

When she and her husband Paul first discovered Sanibel, she immediately began taking classes at BIG Arts: art classes such as “Raku,” ” Silver-smithing” and “Nature Prints” and writing classes such as “A Note in a Bottle: Writing for Beginners” and “Memoir Writing for Women.” Jan also taught a BIG Arts class, “Oil Painting and Water Soluble Oils.”

Her latest project is one of the hand-painted rain barrels now up for auction to benefit the Southwest Florida Medical Reserve Corps, an organization that provides help during disasters or medical emergencies.

Jan describes her rain barrel this way: “The top has Mary Poppins-like figures floating through the stormy sky with their umbrellas. The barrel belly is banded by the words ‘Come Rain Or Come Shine. Umbrellas Are Our Best Friends.’ The art at the bottom shows a Sanibel beach with people and more umbrellas as well as the Lighthouse, a dock, an osprey nest, and a hint of the Fort Myers skylineacross the water.”

Her rain barrel combines story, poetry and art!

“Creative pursuits are my life,” added Jan, as she now has more time to focus on art and writing. About both her art and writing, she says, “I get lost in the process — almost a trance-like state. Who needs drugs? Tell the kids to start creating!”

Jan Rozeboom’s barrel will be on display at Jerry’s Market until March 3. On March 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the entire collection of painted rain barrels will be in a garden setting at Cip’s Place (2055 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel). Final bidding will end at 4 p.m. All funds will be donated to buy medical supplies and equipment for the Southwest Florida MRC.

(Vicky Lettmann is a writer, teacher, and the co-editor of “When Last On The Mountain: The View From Writers over 50.” This is the first in a series of profiles of creative people over 50 who visit or live on the islands of Sanibel and Captiva.)